It was quite by chance in the spring of 2014 that we discovered that we could enjoy the 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition fairly close to home, just across the 🇮🇹 Italian border from Chamonix! I had always enjoyed visiting the London-based exhibition at the Natural History Museum (NB « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » competition – exhibition was developed and is produced by the Natural History Museum, London), and was excited to find the exhibition just a short drive away.
It was 🐰 Easter weekend and we had decided to escape the ☔️ RAIN of France, and found a last-minute deal at the the Hôtel Village in 🇮🇹 Quart, Aosta . . . the rain of France turned into a ❄️ SNOWSTORM as we emerged from the Mont-Blanc tunnel into 🇮🇹 Italy, and our elder son came down with fever on our first night there, leaving us hotel-bound for a day (with one three year old and a newborn!) . . . but once back on form, we were happy to find a leaflet about the 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition at the nearby 🏰 Forte di Bard . . .
Until then, we hadn’t been aware that the 🏰 majestic fortress that we had regularly driven past over the years on our way up and down the Aosta Valley was – in fact – the wonderful 🏰 Forte di Bard, an old military fortress that had been renovated and made into a cultural centre, hosting 🖼 temporary exhibitions as well as permanent museums!
History of the « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » competition
The 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » competition began back in 1965, and originally there were just three competition categories and about 500 entries. Over the years, the importance of the competition grew and in 1984 the Natural History Museum became involved . . . fast forward another 30 odd years, and we are into the 57th incarnation of this nature event. Today, thousands of entries arrive from around 100 countries worldwide, and there is a young photographer category, among other special categories. The principal exhibition is held at the Natural History Museum in London, and the exhibition also tours the world. In addition, the photos are shown on the 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » website, and appear in leading publications worldwide, and hence the photos are seen by millions and many become iconic.
[ ⇒ see website to read more about the 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » competition ]
« Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition at the Forte di Bard
🗓 dates of 2022 exhibition: ⇒ 5th June 2022;
Ever since our first visit to the 🏰 Forte di Bard five years ago (and every year since!) – to first and foremost see the 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition – I have been won over by the choice of location . . . it seems to me the perfect spot to put on an exhibition celebrating (and also highlighting the delicate balance of) nature and wildlife. From the top of the 🏰 Forte di Bard (the 🖼 temporary exhibitions are located at the top of the fortress ), one cannot help but be struck by the majesty of the surrounding nature – the powerful 💦 Dora Baltea river below, the snowy mountain peaks in the distance . . . and yet one is also reminded of the military history of the fortress, and the impact of man on the environment. For me, the transformation of the 🏰 Forte di Bard from fortress into 🖼 cultural centre is a juxtoposition that highlights change and helps to promote a hopeful future.
A visit to this exhibition is also a day out in the 🇮🇹 Aosta Valley . . . as a family, you can combine the visit with the other highlights of the 🏰 Forte di Bard:
- there is plenty of space to run;
- there is a small 🧗♂️ outdoor climbing wall;
- there are 🏔 great views;
- there are funiculars, which are fun;
- there are 🖼 modern art sculptures adorning the fortress;
- there are 🖼 museums to visit within the fortress (🏔 the Museum of the Alps, 🏔 the Children’s Museum of the Alps, and more);
- there is a ☕️ cafeteria on-site, the Caffetteria di Gola;
- the pretty medieval village of Bard sits just below the fortress;
[ ⇒ see MBFF article about the 🏰 Forte di Bard here ]
🗓 opening hours of Forte di Bard‘s 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition: Tuesday ⇒ Friday: 10h to 18h / weekends until 19h / CLOSED on Mondays (though exceptionally open on Mondays 18th & 25th April);
💶 price of 📷 « Wildlife Photographer of the Year » exhibition:
seniors (over 65s) and students: 7€;
children (6 to 18 years): 5€;
FREE for children under 6 years;
[ ⇒ to see prices of other museums & exhibitions at the 🏰 Forte di Bard, see here ]
🅿️ parking: there is a paying car park right at the foot of 🏰 Forte di Bard, but if you don’t mind a short walk, then there is the 🅿️ FREE Lieron car park along the SS26 (great photos of the fortress along the way!). We have tried both options!